The IELTS Reading test evaluates a range of reading skills, with identical question
formats across both Academic and General Training tests, albeit with different
passages. The Reading test consists of three sections, and candidates have
approximately 60 minutes to complete a total of 40 questions.


Duration: 60 minutes

Number of Sections: 3 sections, each containing a passage

Number of Questions: 40

Scoring: 1 mark awarded for each correct answer; no negative marking

Test Structure

The difficulty level increases progressively throughout the sections, so it's advisable to manage time efficiently, allowing more time for challenging questions. Aim to allocate roughly 20 minutes to each section, adjusting as needed based on personal pacing.

While the first section may be completed more swiftly, it's beneficial to utilize any remaining time for subsequent sections

IELTS Academic Reading VS IELTS General Reading

The IELTS exam offers two distinct types, each tailored to specific purposes based on your intention to relocate to an English-speaking country. The IELTS Academic test is suitable for individuals seeking university-level admissions, whereas the IELTS General Training test is designed for migration and admissions to courses below the degree level.

Distinguishing Features

IELTS Academic Reading:

  • Features academic-level excerpts from various sources such as magazines,
    articles, academic journals, and textbooks.
  • Texts encompass diverse styles including descriptive, illustrative, and narrative,
    accompanied by logical arguments.

IELTS General Reading:

  • Passages are sourced from advertisements, instruction manuals, company
    guidelines, newspapers, and similar everyday materials.
  • Passages increase in difficulty order, starting with simpler content and
    progressing to slightly more complex topics.
Aspect IELTS Academic Reading IELTS General Reading
Passage Sources Journals, Books, Textbooks Newspapers, Company Handbooks, Ads
Passage Focus Academic subjects, complex info Everyday Situations
Assessment Criteria Comprehension & analysis of academic texts Interpretation & application of general texts in everyday context

Question Types

IELTS Academic Reading

  • Matching features
  • Table completion
  • Flow-chart completion
  •  Identifying information (true, false, not given)
  •  Matching headings
  • Matching sentence endings
  •  Multiple choice (more than one answer)
  • Multiple choice (one answer)
  • Note completion
  • Sentence completion
  • Summary completion (selecting from a list of words or phrases)
  • Summary completion (selecting words from the text)

IELTS General Reading:

  •  Flow chart completion
  •  Identifying information
  •   Matching information
  •  Matching features
  •  Matching headings
  •   Note completion
  •  Sentence completion
  •  Short-answer questions
  •  Summary completion
  •  Identifying information (true, false, not given)

IELTS Reading Tasks

In the IELTS Academic Reading and General Reading tests, you will encounter various question types designed to assess your reading comprehension skills. While some question types are specific to each test, others are common to both. It’s important to note that although certain question formats may be similar across the exams, the source of passages, complexity, and topics discussed will vary. To prepare effectively for the Reading test, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with common terms and strategies used in IELTS Reading preparation. Here are some key terms to remember:

Keywords: These are focus points or words within the passage that help you locate important information.

Skimming: Reading quickly to grasp the main idea or gist of the passage.
Scanning: Rapid reading to locate specific information within the passage.
Reading for detail: Reading attentively to understand a logical argument, opinions, attitudes, and the writer’s purpose.

Note: Before you begin, carefully read the instructions, adhere to the given word limit, and pay attention to keywords in the questions to guide you to the relevant parts of the passage. Skim and scan the passage, focusing on content words like nouns and verbs. Now, let’s explore the different question types you may encounter:

Matching Features:

  •  You’ll be presented with statements and a list of features, such as dates or characteristics.
  • Your task is to connect these features to the corresponding statements by identifying their relationships within the passage.

Table Completion:

  • Fill in missing information in a table by studying it thoroughly and locating
    relevant details in the passage

Flow-chart Completion:

  • Complete a diagram or flow chart by filling in missing information based on the passage.

Matching Headings:

  • Match paragraphs with headings that best summarize them, demonstrating your understanding of the main topics discussed.

Sentence Completion:

  • Resolve incomplete sentences by identifying missing information from the passage.

Summary Completion:

  • Complete an incomplete passage summary with missing information either by selecting words from a list or by choosing words directly from the text.

Identifying Information (True, False, Not Given):

  • Determine whether given statements are true, false, or not given based on information in the passage.

Matching Sentence Endings:

  • Complete sentence endings by selecting suitable words or phrases from a given list.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  • Select one or more correct answers that best match information in the passage.

Matching Information:

  • Match statements with the correct paragraphs in the passage

Short-answer Questions:

  • Complete sentences with one-word or phrase answers based on information in the passage.

For each question type, employ strategies such as identifying keywords, skimming and scanning the passage, and cross-checking your answers to ensure accuracy. Familiarity with these question types and effective application of reading strategies will contribute to your success in the IELTS Reading test.

IELTS Reading Band Score

The IELTS Reading Band Score contributes to your overall IELTS score and is assessed on a scale ranging from 0 to 9, similar to other modules of the exam.

In the IELTS Reading test, there are a total of 40 questions, and each correct answer earns you one point. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers. Your raw score is the sum of all correct answers.

Your final band score is determined by converting your raw score to the IELTS band scale. It’s important to note that while both the IELTS Academic Reading and General Training Reading tests are scored on the same scale, due to the higher complexity of the Academic Reading section,

achieving a higher band score in this section requires a higher percentage of correct answers compared to the General Training Reading section. Therefore, there may be slight differences in the conversion to the band scale between the two versions. Here’s a conversion table for your reference:

IELTS Academic Raw Score IELTS General Raw Score IELTS Band Score
15 15 5
23 23 6
34 30 7
38 35 8